Life Groups (Part 1)
Main Point: Life groups help us forge a community of grace and refreshment through our relationships together.
What does it means to be part of a community of grace?
In a life group, our experience of God’s undeserving grace is deepened through our relationships.
In a life group, we speak life giving, affirming words to one another.
1- Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture. The doctrines of grace create a culture of grace, a social environment of acceptance and hope and freedom and joy. Jesus himself touches us through his truths to create a new kind of community. Without the doctrines, the culture alone is fragile. Without the culture, the doctrines alone appear pointless. - Ray Ortlund, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ
2- Isn’t the doctrine-creating-culture dynamic what we find in the New Testament? For example, the doctrine of regeneration creates a culture of humility (Ephesians 2:1–9). The doctrine of justification creates a culture of inclusion (Galatians 2:11–16). The doctrine of reconciliation creates a culture of peace (Ephesians 2:14–16). The doctrine of sanctification creates a culture of life (Romans 6:20–23). The doctrine of glorification creates a culture of hope (Romans 5:2) and honor (Romans 12:10). The doctrine of God — what could be more basic than that? — creates a culture of honesty and confession (1 John 1:5–10). - Ray Ortlund, The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ
3-Gospel doctrine – gospel culture = hypocrisy
Gospel culture – gospel doctrine = superficiality
Gospel doctrine + gospel culture = community of grace
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (ESV)